9 Women Over 40 On What They Didn’t Expect to Love About Getting Older
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It’s no secret that women over a certain age are largely ignored by mainstream media. But here at TFD, we see getting older as an ultimate privilege — and the older those of us on the TFD team get, the more ridiculous our media-influenced perceptions of age seem to be. There’s nothing inherently impressive about landing on a “30 under 30” list (and oftentimes, the people on those lists were simply afforded privileges that helped them get way ahead at an early age). There is absolutely no cutoff date to living the life you want, whether that means moving to a new city, changing careers, getting married, getting out of a relationship, traveling more, or simply starting a new hobby.
We firmly believe that with age comes experience, clarity, and a greater sense of self. We all deserve to invest in the lives we want, no matter where we’re starting from. We asked nine women over 40 to tell us what they didn’t expect to love about getting older, to show us how every new year brings more excitement — not less.
1. “In earlier years, I was working very hard — getting an education, working full-time, raising small children, being a wife and daughter, and taking good care of my body.
“I still do, but now I feel different — more confident, less rushed. I’m reaping the benefits of my investments: I’m a professor now, and study medical decision-making. It’s a dream job. Plus, I’m writing a non-fiction on how we make medical decisions (Basic Books, 2021). At this point, to be fit, intellectually engaged, and have good relationships with my nearest and dearest is something I highly appreciate. Who knew being 54 could be this fun.” – Talya Miron-Shatz, PhD
2. “The best thing that surprised me about getting older is that I didn’t expect to start my own business right before 40 and still be growing 4 years later. I love it! My drive to see my business succeed over the past four years hasn’t wavered, and I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I had started in my 20s. I honestly think I would have given up since I had had our first three children at 23, 25 and 26.
“I just turned 42 last week. I’m a wife and mom of 6. (I had our last 2 children 3 weeks before I turned 40 and when I was 41 and a half.) So people, especially other women, ask me how I’m doing it all. The thing is is that even with all of that going on in my life, the possibility of creating real financial freedom and independence for me and my family is what’s keeping me driven.
“I have big plans for the money I make. I want to leave a legacy of not just wealth, but an impact on the world, and my own imprint on it for generations to come. It sounds overwhelming, but it’s so much fun and invigorating to create something I thought of completely on my own and serve people I want to help. If you had told me that I would have a small business that focuses on marketing, I would have thought you were hallucinating. Now I’m a Pinterest Conversion Strategist. Who knew!
“I learned that I’m more creative than I thought, and that’s the fun part. I learn something new about myself all the time simply because one day I got tired of feeling mediocre and not living in my purpose. My 40s have been an amazing time so far and I can’t wait to see what the coming years have in store for me.” – Angel Lavery, Pinterest Conversion Strategist
3. “One of the top benefits of being in my 40s is knowing who I am and what I do well. I love my job, love what I do, am using my strengths, and have built up expertise over many years working in the same field. There’s a confidence, power, and peace that comes from that. I really love this time in life and am surprised how much I enjoy it.” – Amanda Ponzar, Chief Communications & Strategy Officer, Community Health Charities
4. “In the last two decades, I’ve devoted the majority of my time and energy to eating clean and exercising regularly. Part of this was due to the fact that I was secretly afraid of aging. I wanted to make sure that I looked good as well as remained active and outgoing in the years ahead. Now that I’m in my 40s, I’m surprised to find that aging isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. In fact, I hardly notice the laugh lines or wrinkles. Sure, the signs are all there, but because I invested in my health and well-being early in life, I am reaping the benefits. I’m happy to see that I can still keep up with the ladies in my gym who are half my age and I’m regularly mistaken for a 30-year-old. If you’re a teen or maybe in your early 20s, invest in yourself NOW. Adhere to a healthy and wholesome lifestyle, and you’ll continue to live a great quality of life when you hit 40 and even beyond.” – Linda Chester, The Health Hour
5. “I am a woman who was a late bloomer. I didn’t get married until I was 36 and didn’t have children until I was 41 (twins via IVF, after struggles with miscarriage and infertility). I was a high school English teacher for 15 years before I had my children and became a stay-at-home mom. In my 20s and 30s, I was somewhat adventurous, traveled a lot, and invested a lot of time and energy into my career. I thought I would miss that pace of life after I had children and was at home full-time. However, while being a mom of twins is hectic, I LOVE the slower pace of life in my 40s. There’s a certain settledness you achieve in your 40s — being at peace with who you are, not caring what people think, not needing external benchmarks to feel like a success. Your 40s is a great time in life to make a pivot — legitimate life experience behind you to know what you want going forward. All of that was unexpected, but a true blessing.” Kate Landry, former SAHM, current blogger and freelance writer
6. “Just at the time I was starting to dread getting older and watching my only son enter high school (just four years from being an empty nester), I discovered my passion for blogging. My blog allows me to share my love for organizing and decluttering, and help others in the process. I can’t believe how excited I was (in my mid-40s, no less) to learn how to build my own website from scratch, how to write content that truly helps people in their daily lives, how to build my brand on social media, how to use SEO…all of it!
“I feel like a kid fresh out of school, full of possibility and excitement and the promise of a bright future…right when many women my age are feeling burned out, lacking that zest for life and dreading watching their kids grow up and leave home. That was me just a few months ago, wondering what I was going to do in the next stage of my life. I encourage every woman my age to find that hobby or activity or job that makes them feel alive and pursue it! Be a lifelong learner! Take a leap of faith! It’s never too late, and we’re never too old.” – Jen Breitegan, marketing professional and blogger at Organizenvy.com
7. “The best thing that surprised me about getting older is the personal freedom that having older children brings. When they are self-sufficient and heading off to college, and all of our financial planning and savings have been in place, we (my husband and I) now have the financial wherewithal and time to be a little less work-focused and to enjoy a bit more leisure time.” – Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com
8. “I love that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much wiser about what’s important to me. I’ve learned to establish better boundaries in my relationships. I see time as a gift. I don’t allow myself to give my time to individuals and situations that do not serve me well. I’ve also been gifted with age to see money differently. Initially, I was afraid of money in my 20s. I wasn’t very responsible with my spending. As I am aging, money is a resource that has to be managed just like time. I am much more intentional about saving and my future. Aging has changed my perspective on a number of things…I don’t feel the need to prove myself in the same way that I did earlier in my career.” – Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
9. “I didn’t expect the confidence that I’d feel in finally coming into my own. Or the freedom to be myself. Not caring what others think or feel about me. You know, my eating cake for breakfast, wearing white “way” after Labor Day. At 70 years young (folks are surprised when I share this), at my salon I am usually the one getting auburn highlights, smelling good wearing my scent du jour (smelling good makes me feel like a Boss), sporting cobalt blue toe nail polish, and jingling an armful of assorted bangles. With two successful careers behind me that provided a good income, and enjoying a lifelong dream of writing when not walking arm in arm with my husband of 47 years, I had no idea that getting older could be like this.” – Carol Gee, author of Random Notes (About Life, “Stuff” And Finally Learning To Exhale)
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